WASHINGTON - Ukrainian legal experts say they are bemused by reports of American back-channel pressure to pursue an investigation of an energy company linked to the son of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, pointing out the Trump administration could have easily achieved its goal through established legal channels.
The lawyers say there is a well-established tradition of cooperation between the two countries in criminal investigations, based on the provisions of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed by the two countries in 1998.
"This treaty extensively regulates all issues related to cooperation and communication between [signatory nations] on criminal investigations," said Ukrainian defense attorney Denys Bugay, a specialist in multijurisdictional proceedings.
"The treaty authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice and Ukraine's General Prosecutor Office ... or the agencies they delegate this responsibility to communicate. If one country thinks that it has or needs information important to criminal investigation, the communication should take place within the framework of this treaty and according to the instruments it provides."
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